Top Marginal Rates Of Income Tax

Key Point

The top rate of tax on employees in Ireland (including PRSI and Universal Social Charge) is 52% compared with an OECD average of 46%. The evidence suggests that no country with the possible exceptions of Belgium and Denmark applies such a high rate of tax at such a low level of income.


The top rate of tax on employees in Ireland (including PRSI and Universal Social Charge) is 52% (OECD Average 46%). The Irish rate begins to apply to single people at average earnings. The corresponding OECD level is 3.2 times average earnings. The Irish top rate is the 9th highest in the OECD1. In the UK the top rate is also 52% but it applies at 4.6 times average earnings.

The top rate of tax of 55 % which apples to self-employed people in Ireland is the 7th highest in the OECD. The data is at Table 1 below. In the Nordic 5 (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland), the average top rate is also 52 % but it begins to apply at 1.5 times average earnings.

Tax rates Table 1-page-001

Tax rates Table 1-page-002









































Notes: OECD data for 2012 shows that the marginal tax rate on the income of a single person on 1 and 2/3 average income at 52% is the 4th highest in the OECD (OECD average of 34 countries 39.93%). Only Belgium (59.75%), Denmark (56.05%) and Slovenia (54.04%) are higher. The average tax rate on the same person in Ireland is 9th highest in   OECD at 28.01% (OECD average 21.35)


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles

Public Policy, Independent Thinking on Public Decisions

79 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland
tel: 353 (1) 676 0414 | email:
Company registration number: 504956

Privacy Policy | Chairman's Blog | Events | Video | Public Policy Documents | News Property Tax Ireland | Pension Reform Ireland | Water Charges Ireland

Image credits